As the months of social distancing tick on, and the “new normal” sets in, one element of my life has proven to be more valuable than I ever imagined. It is my growing awareness of the
importance of belonging to my tribe.
I actually have a few tribes that I hold very dear and integral to the quality of my life. Each is aligned around a shared interest and allows the tribe members to communicate with a unique level of vulnerability and intimacy.
My tribes are very specific and each one offers me love, acknowledgment, support, and belonging. In the safety of the tribe, we cry tears everyone understands. and laugh at things that only those in the tribe find amusing. And together, we help the world make sense.
Tonight I hung with my horse gals, a tribe focused on owning, riding, and showing horses. It sounds fun and lighthearted, but it’s hard, gut-wrenching, expensive, dangerous, and time-consuming. So under the setting sun, sitting six-feet apart (well almost) we laughed together, and we cried together, we shared our lives through metaphors and nuances that only those in the horse tribe would understand. We share a lens colored by the passion for our sport. We understand each other’s pains and triumphs and make space, in fact welcome, the telling of stories that shape our collective experience.
I have a few tribes. Family of course, comes first. We share blood, but we also share values, traditions, and connection above all. Tribal life is hard sometimes with inevitable rumbles, but the tribe shares its unique approach to resolving conflict. Adhere to the tribal rules or risk tumbling free.
My other tribes include my gardener gals, my Alanon pals, my local Cornwall community of farmers, artists, and lovable eccentrics. I also have a less defined spiritual tribe and a foodie tribe. There are also tribes I long for. . . . a music tribe. A meditation tribe. Sometimes I am a voyeur into other people’s tribes. My mother’s music tribe ambles on about Rachmaninov, minuets, and four-hand piano. I am a frequent eavesdropper on my husband’s builder/developer tribe. They talk brick and mortar, cap rates, taxes, and town politics.
I am so happy for my tribes and I appreciate the work I put into cultivating them. Some tribes last a lifetime, some feel short-lived and some are a struggle to stay connected. But, I will do my part to be a faithful, loyal, and active participant.
What is your tribe??? What tribes are you a member of? What tribes are you missing?
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The Importance of Belonging to a Tribe: The curative powers of group identity
1. – Know Yourself. Be that self.
This speaks to the authenticity aspect of Tribalism. If you’re not yourselves it will be hard to become an effective tribe. You’ll just be a collection of “actors”.
2. – Don’t Be “Special”
The Tribe is what is special. The greatness comes from Tribal power and from the contributions of all.
3. – Drop the Drama
Yes, Tribes are about acting and getting things done. Outcomes. But acting means taking action not performing on a stage. And certainly not focusing on “woe-is-me” and engaging in a pulling of feathers like barnyard chickens.
4. – Leave Judgment In the Closet
Ditch it. It’s counterproductive. When Tribe members mess up, fix the problem. Get to Root Cause and put in place preventive measures, but don’t be judgmental. It is not helpful and certainly not healthy Tribal behavior.
5. – Be Prepared to Give as Much If Not More Than You Receive
Tribes by their very nature demonstrate the exponential effect. 1 + 1 ≠ 2. In fact in a Tribe 1 + 1 = 42, or 176 or 2,397. Get my point?
Exponential. Compounding. There is where the value lies. So be prepared to contribute. More than you get. You’ll get it back in spades.
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